So every year since university, I’ve baked a huge load of cookies and have roped all kinds of friends and family into a full day of decorating. Jess was one of my favorites, because she kept guffawing over the unlikelihood of ever saying yes to this…while in her fourth hour of cookies!
These days, I’m trying to perfect the timeline. I made gingerbread dough and tucked it in the fridge Saturday afternoon. Then I made chocolate orange dough with Tess and Remy, who pooped out after cutting part of it. Griff and Lilou jumped in for a while, but then it was time for a family Christmas party down the block. Dave packed up all four and marched them away, gleeful to be the ones going out, while I realized the beauty of cutting and baking cookies with no other complications.
It’s been a few years of practice. I know toddlers have limited staying power, and that it’s hard for them not to eat all the cookies. It’s more fun to do with them, but we’re not going to FORCE them to do it. The next day, I got the kids rolling on decorating the cooked ones while I whipped up the last batch. We had it down to a dull roar, and they only dropped one container of “pearls” on the floor. Frankly, watching them work together and try to beat the puppy to all the candy was one of the greatest moments of the day. Talk about futility!
So I didn’t have a conscripted cookie buddy. But I got moments with everyone, including Joy and Manny. Everyone had fun, got naps, and got to eat the broken ones. And when our neighbors came caroling later that night, I was delighted to pass around cookies that have improved dramatically over last year’s.
I love traditions, but Dave and the kids are teaching me to take a deep breath and realize it doesn’t have to be exactly the way I pictured it. Kind of like parenting. I can be mad about the days that just don’t go right, or I can enjoy what does work and laugh at the rest as much as possible. And people? There’s a lot of opportunity for laughing these days. So I baked the last few dozen cookies Saturday, then walked over to the party to be with my family. The house smelled great, we all enjoyed a minute with awesome neighbors, then came home for a quiet night. That can be a tradition, right?